Sunflowers and Kindness | “Life Be Lifing”

Andrea Farthofer Sunflower

Based on the sighs I hear and the withdrawn, faraway looks in the faces of others, I know that many of us are not okay. I’m not sure if this is part of post-Pandemic languishing or malaise or if this is just life doing its thing. The reality is life can be stinging and burning at times, or as my blogging friend Kathy says, “Life be lifing.”

I wish we would admit that more. I wish more of us would be brave enough to tell the truth of our mental and emotional states. It would certainly make our loads a bit lighter, and maybe, it would free someone else to be open about their struggles. 

It’s not that misery loves company. We all need to know we’re not alone on the icky paths in life and we need to know we can navigate them and come through on the other side. We can survive these roads if we know we’re not alone, better yet if learn to walk them together. 

So, let’s do each other a kindness. Be honest about our feelings, and let’s check our judgment and leave space for others to be candid with us. 


About the Image: This gorgeous abstract sunflower features the work of my Wildflowers friend, Andrea F. She thought of me and my love for sunflowers while working on it. Like Sheila’s art, shared a couple of days ago, this piece sits in my planner and brightens many days!

Sunflowers and Kindness | The Ultimate Kindness

Sheila D Sunflower

“Don’t just be good to others. Be good to yourself too.”

February has been a weird month. In fact, this whole year has been kind of strange so far. I was excited about the Kindness Week planned for Pics and Posts two weeks ago, but the “strangeness” caused me to drop the ball.

I needed all the energy to get through the days of über long meetings and random oddities. I’m coming to terms with reality—even if I can make the time, I sometimes don’t have the “vim and vigor” for anything extra. 

That is the kindness I am learning to extend to myself. I’m no longer pushing myself past E(mpty) and operating on fumes. I deserve more and my loved ones deserve better. 

And so do you.

Go out and do your good deeds, but remember the ultimate kindness is often to yourself. Be kind to you!


About the Image: Today’s sunflowers are from the water-color sunflower diva, Sheila D! She surprised me with these beauties about a year ago. They have been brightening up my planner, but I figure it’s time to share them with the world.

Sunflowers and Kindness | #WednesdayWisdom

Sunnies from Livi2

Bring love wherever you go.
Shine light wherever it’s dark.
Leave blessings wherever you’ve been.
Be kind wherever you are.
-Mary Davis-


About Today’s Sunflowers: The random act of sunflowers in today’s post came from my niece-student, Liv Grace. She surprised me with sunnies and goodies for Valentine’s Day! Speaking of…I missed yesterday’s Valentine’s Day/kindness post because I was wiped out after spending a zillion hours in meetings. I’ll repurpose the post and share it later this week–or maybe, next Valentine’s Day!

Sunflowers and Kindness | National Random Acts of Kindness Week

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. –Desmond Tutu

It’s been a long time since we had a “Kindness Week” here on Pics and Posts, so in honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Week this week’s posts will be dedicated to kindness, compassion, and random acts of sunflowers.

Your first task is to visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s website, take a look around, download a few posters and tools, including the RAK Calendar, and get ready to do your part in “making kindness the norm.”

¡Hasta mañana!


About the Sunflowers: The sunflower photos in this post were grown and sent to me by my Wildflowers friend, Kim B. She risked being stung by bees to brighten my day. :-D. Thanks, Kimmy!

Sunny Blossoms | The Ultimate Kindness

“Kindness” by Martha S.

Today’s Kindness blossom came from my pen friend, Martha S. She painted the sunflower [with a nod to the Ukraine] for International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. It was refreshing to see a card that simply reminded us of kindness. 

If we think about it, it all comes down to that. Doesn’t it? If we were more compassionate and thought as highly of others as we think of ourselves, women’s rights wouldn’t need to be a thing!

I know that sounds simplistic. Social structures/constructions are complex, and for some reason, humans have an almost innate suspicion of those who are not like them; furthermore, in many cultures, men have been conditioned to see women as inferior to them. These attitudes seem to be at the root of all unkindness—even in our “smaller” interpersonal interactions.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment where [some] men decided that women were inferior to men. Some point to Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden or Scripture in general, but the argument is not supported in Scripture. What Scripture does uphold is that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); we are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); and God desires an abundant life for all of us (John 10:10b). And, the best part–His mercy, grace, and salvation are available to all!

That is the ultimate kindness. 

Seven Favorites from World Watercolor Month | Magnolias and Faith

Watercolor 20-2022

World Watercolor Month 2022, Day 20 (July 20, 2022)

Always pray
to have eyes that
see the best in people,
a heart that forgives the worst,
a mind that forgets the bad,
and a heart that never loses faith
in God


The words are from a plaque given to all University employees [this week] by the chaplains to display in our offices–a daily reminder to pay attention, know that everyone has a story, and exercise compassion.

Small Acts, Big Impact

Christine B.

“Peace” by Christine B.

Hello December!

Classes are over. Grades are in. I am happy for the quiet office, slower pace, and for time to give attention to things simmering on the back burner. More importantly, I am excited to have time to focus on the holidays and to participate in meaningful challenges like Action for Happiness’ Do Good December (DGD), which encourages small acts of kindness.  I first heard of DGD two years ago, and am eager to participate again this year.

dec_2021

This morning, my friend Christine sent a message with a Nikki Banas’ quote (below) on the impact of our small acts of kindness. Her message solidified my plan to share the kindness calendar with readers today.

You never know the true impact you have on those around you. You never know how much someone needed that smile you gave them. You never know how much your kindness turned someone else’s entire life around. You never know how much someone needed that long hug or deep talk. So don’t wait to be kind. Don’t wait for someone else to be kind first. Don’t wait for better circumstances or for someone to change. Just be kind, because you never know how much someone needs it. —Nikki Banas

Be sure to download the calendar and do one small act of kindness every day. Your act might make a huge difference in someone’s life.


About the Image: The gorgeous artwork above is the work of Christine B. It reminds me of where I’d love to be–peacefully sitting on a beach, watching the ocean and a golden sunset (or sunrise). Christine sent this with sunflowers for my birthday. Her loving act of sharing her creativity has made a significant difference in my life. ❤ [The piece was made with alcohol ink, a fine-point black Sharpie, and oil pens].

Tired like Langston

“Langston,” Lynita Solomon. Used by Permission of the Artist

Yesterday, I read a Facebook post by a woman who denigrated Vice President Kamala Harris for no good reason. The woman asserted that Harris is not a role model and no one should have their daughters look up to her.

The post and responses were hateful and extremely disrespectful. I can’t figure out how people can stir up so much hatred for a person they don’t know just because they don’t agree with the person’s policies or positions on certain issues.

Beyond this illogic, some made lewd remarks and [like the original poster] claimed Harris did “anything” to reach the VP position. The whole thing was disturbing. And to make matters worse, the post was “liked” thousands of times and shared more than 17,000 times!

The comments played into the hypersexualized view of Black women that was written into the narrative of American history to cover the multitude of white men’s violations against Black women’s bodies and personhood. The narrative is hurtful and just as dangerous as the one that gets Black men and women shot for just breathing.

Like the speaker in Langston Hughes’s poem, I’m so tired.

Tired
Langston Hughes

I am so tired of waiting.

Aren’t you,
for the world to become good
and beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
and cut the world in two —
and see what worms are eating
at the rind.

About the Image: The art above is the work of graphic illustrator, Lynita “Elle” Solomon. She posted the image on Instagram in honor of the day Langston Hughes was born, 119 years ago. Lynita has an amazing way of presenting her subjects “without faces,” but we know exactly who they are anyway. You can see more of her work by clicking the image above.

Believe You Can…

Love Notes 30.2 offered another timely prompt, and my partner, Nicole delivered well.  In response to the prompt, “Believe you can,” she wrote:

Believe you can…

…Create inner peace as a form of success.
…Hand off the thing that has been weighing you down. It was never your weight to carry.
…Be at peace knowing you made the best decision in that moment.
…Be the heroine of your journey.
…Live your personal life assignment. It is greater than thoughts that waste your time and bring you down or create doubt.

She wrote it all inside the sweet Carlton card above. Although I received the card a week ago (?), I did not really read it till moments ago after I seized a moment to sit in silence in my office. The delay was well-timed; I needed the words today. Maybe, you need them too…

Have joy!

Self-Kindness and the (Un)Written Plan

Interior of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. Digitally altered, of course.

The publicly announced commitments to change and other goals [seem to] have increased significantly for 2020, perhaps, because most perceive the new year as the beginning rather than the end of a decade.

This morning, I had a brief discussion with Paula, an inspirational writer friend, following her (re)posting of a devotional thought she wrote at the beginning of 2018. She commented in our discussion that not much had changed in two years.

That gave me pause for two reasons: (1) From my point of view Paula has made serious strides in recent years. And (2) when I considered what I’d hoped to accomplish the past several years, I confronted the reality that I missed the mark many times, in many ways.

But before I allowed myself to sit in a stew of self-pity and regret, I decided to make a list of all the things I have accomplished over the decade. Sufficiently sated, I stopped at the end of the first long page–with plans to “complete” the list and refer to it whenever feelings of failure and defeat surface.

While writing the list, I focused on the things others can see, things I can list on my curriculum vitae or include in a professional biography. However, there are so many victories, so many successes that would not be included on a CV or in a bio.

By the grace of God, I’ve done some hard things, faced and overcome difficult obstacles. Things that took time. Energy. And left scars. Things no one else will see. Things most will never know. Things for which I will never be publicly honored, recognized, or applauded. Things that firmed up my soul and impacted the lives of others in ways I may never know.

I learned long ago my value does not come from a list of successes (or failures), a title, a bank account, or even the people around me. I also learned what I achieve through and for the Most High is far more critical than anything I do for myself.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to make plans and act on them, but I invite you to do so with a little more perspective and self-kindness. Even if you don’t check everything off [the probably overly ambitious] list within the time frame expected, take into consideration the ways in which you slay and conquer that aren’t written into the plan.

Happy 2020!